Sunday, March 3, 2024

Wood vs. Wood #191

Last time the vote was nine for 1962, two for 1987, and one abstention. Who will be victorious this time?

A simple headshot of Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer, with a collared shirt sticking out from his jersey. Must have been a cold day. Brewer came up with the Cubs in 1960, and in his fourth major league game hit the Reds' Billy Martin with a pitch, leading to a bench-clearing ball. Brewer's cheekbone was broken in the fight, and Martin was suspended and later sued by Brewer, who won $10,000 in damages in 1969. Some of Martin's teammates said that it was actually teammate Cal McLish who did most of the damage to Brewer. As a Cub, Brewer was ineffective before and after the fight, going 4-13 with a 5.66 ERA over four seasons. The Dodgers traded for Brewer after the 1963 season and quickly turned him into an effective relief pitcher. In 1965 he went 3-2 with a 1.82 ERA in 19 games, winning a World Series ring, and from 1968 to 1973 he had six straight seasons of 15+ saves, making his lone All Star team in '73. He ended his career with the Angels in 1975 and 1976. Jim Brewer got to pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers twice, but allowed two earned runs in one total inning. After his career he was a pitching coach for the Expos, then moved to Tulsa to work on his farm as well as coach pitching part-time. He died in a car crash in 1987, one day after his 50th birthday.

Charles Hudson rubs up a baseball in spring training. Hudson had a great season as a rookie, going 8-8 with a 3.35 ERA, and pitching a complete-game victory in the NLCS to help beat the Dodgers. After three seasons of losing records, the Phillies gave up on Hudson and traded him to the Yankees for Mike Easler. Hudson got off to a fast start with the Yankees, including a complete game shutout of the Royals on April 19. That was my first major league game, at nine years old, and I will never forget all the fans standing on the seats in the bleachers around me shouting "Charlie, Charlie!" Needless to say I became a Charlie Hudson fan for life. Hudson was not able to sustain this success as the season wore on, and after another so-so season was traded to the Tigers for Tom Brookens. In Detroit Hudson bottomed out professionally and personally, going 1-5 with a 6.35 ERA on the mound, and breaking his leg in a car accident while driving drunk. Hudson went into rehabilitation and by all accounts turned his life around, though he has kept a very low profile since his retirement.